Special Veterans Day Exhibit To Be Unveiled At USC Upstate

November 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

Veterans Day will be observed on Thursday, November 11 and Frieda Davison, the dean of the library at the University of South Carolina Upstate, has a special project to unveil. Davison has been conducting exhaustive research on the 600 plus names of Spartanburg County veterans engraved on a memorial at the American Legion in Duncan Park.

She has uncovered that 175 of the fallen veterans from Spartanburg who fought during World War I and World War II are buried in 22 foreign cemeteries scattered around the world. Photos of the cemeteries and names of the veterans will be unveiled during a special ceremony at USC Upstate on Thursday, November 11 at 10:30 a.m. in the University Readiness Center, a facility the University shares with the 228th Signal Brigade of the South Carolina Army National Guard. Framed prints of the cemeteries along with a plaque commemorating the service achievements and sacrifice of these men will be permanently displayed on a wall in the University Readiness Center.

Along with Davison, event participants will include:

  • Darwin Simpson, Brigadier General (ARNGUS), who was the former Commander of the 228th Signal Brigade. He currently serves as director of the Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport.
  • Dr. John Stockwell, chancellor of USC Upstate.
  • Dr. Andrew Myers, associate professor of history and author of Black, White & Olive Drab: Racial Integration at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and the Civil Rights Movement. Myers also holds a commission as an infantry officer with more than 20 years of combined active and reserve service in the U.S. Army.
  • American Legion 28 will post the colors.
  • Taps will be rendered by Ron Taylor.

“It was fascinating to learn about soldiers being buried on foreign soil,” said Davison. “Theodore Roosevelt, Junior, who died in World War II is buried in Normandy beside his brother Quentin Roosevelt, who died in World War I. George Patton, who didn’t die in battle, requested to be buried in Luxembourg where his soldiers fell. It was after World War II that the United States began the tradition of bringing fallen soldiers home for burial.”

The 175 veterans from Spartanburg rest in cemeteries classified as “inactive,” which means that no other remains will be added. The American Battle Monuments Commission administers, operates, and maintains 24 permanent American burial grounds on foreign soil. Presently there are 124,909 U.S. war dead interred at these cemeteries, 30,921 of World War I, 93,238 of World War II and 750 of the Mexican War. Additionally 6,177 American veterans and others are interred in the Mexico City and Corozal American Cemeteries.

Davison, who has a passion for genealogy, fears that with each passing year, we are losing details about the men whose names are engraved on the memorial. She is working on a book project that will ensure these veterans memory is preserved for posterity. Exhaustive research for the book includes searching obituaries, contacting family members for photos of the veterans, and visiting the National Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis where all World War I and World War II documents have now been classified as historical documents and are totally open to the public.

Honorabus Press, locally owned by retired Gen. Ed Hall, will publish Davison’s book, which should be completed by November 2011. Honorabus Press publishes military and aviation history and has sold more than 100,000 volumes.

For more information, contact Frieda Davison at (864) 503-5610 orfdavison@uscupstate.edu or visit her blog at http://duncanparkmemorials.blogspot.com.